Designer: Charles E. Barber. Weight: 2.50
grams. Composition: .900 silver, .100 copper. Approx diameter:
17.9 mm. Reeded edge. Mints: Philadelphia, Denver, New Orleans,
Charles Barber designed the Barber or Liberty Head dime,
which was issued from 1892 to 1916. It shows a large laureate
Liberty head facing right in profile wearing an oversized
Phrygian cap with a headband inscribed LIBERTY. The laurel
is tied with a ribbon in the back of the neck, and the date
is below the truncation. The reverse shows a closed wreath
of maple, corn, oak, and wheat that is tied at the bottom
with a bow. The denomination is within the wreath written
in two lines as ONE DIME.
After an unsuccessful design competition
open to the public with stringent legal limitations, too
short a time limit, and too small a prize, Mint Director
Edward O. Leech ordered Charles Barber, the Mint Engraver,
to design a new dime. For his obverse Barber used a mirror
image of the Morgan dollar Liberty head with back hair cut
off and the rest concealed within a large cap. He left the
reverse design as it had been since 1860 with minor modifications.
His initial B appears at the truncation.
Charles Barber served as Engraver from 1879
to 1917. He is best known for his designs of the “Barber”
dime, quarter, and half dollar. In addition he designed
the Liberty Head nickel, several commemoratives, and the
Flowing Hair Stella pattern. Barber was born in London in
1840. He came to the United States in 1852 with his family.
His father became an engraver at the Mint in Philadelphia.
Following Longacre’s death, William Barber became the Chief
Engraver and made his son, Charles, his assistant. In 1879,
Charles Barber became the Chief Engraver despite the fact
the George T. Morgan may have been more qualified or at
least more talented.